From Playing to Learning: Taking DS106 to the Classroom

For a little bit now, we’ve been toying and adventuring with digital storytelling.

DS106 plays a role in moving learning away from being teacher-centered. Being crafty with kids is something I’m great at. I’m around two little girls, my nieces, all the time so I always see them creating something new. Sometimes, I really wonder where they pull these ideas from. Something my niece Nylah had to do for homework recently gave me the perfect idea for a visual assignment.

Learning Objective: Students will be able to identify the different types of emotions.

What different types of emotions exist and which are some you may have seen around you lately?

For this assignment, the students will cut out pictures from magazines, with the help of a guardian, of different emotions and make a collage. Next to each picture, it is the student’s job to write what emotion they think the picture is illustrating.This focuses on the emotional aspect of health since I am majoring in Health Education K-12. I actually had the opportunity to help Nylah with this assignment and she was great at identifying the emotions. Not only that, but it was fun because of the craft component.

Although I don’t have a visual of this exact example, I have a photo of another assignment. This could be one modification to suit another topic.

A-Z Photo Collage

This assignment can help with two things. It can help children become more familiar with their alphabet and it could also introduce them to different types of foods that are good for them. For this assignment, I would ask the students, again with some help, to find foods, fruits, herbs or vegetables to represent each letter and put it together in a collage in alphabetical order.

My assignments will allow my kids to be creative and put their own twist into their artwork. The collage can represent some of their favorite things they like to eat. It is easy for them to make the assignment about them. As long as the assignment is being done and the objectives are being learned, I see no harm in having it be fun.


Leraning Objective: Students will be able to identify and explain some of the risk factors, dangers and negative consequences associated with poor dieting, and the consumption of drugs and alcohol.

I would make this an audio assignment where students will create a warning message. This assignment would target an audience like high school students where as the visual assignment would satisfy younger grade levels. I think this will make the lesson enjoyable and fun.

Creating Assignments From DS 106

DS 106 is a free online course in which students develop their new media skills by completing visual, audio, video and many other types of new media assignments. Hit it and 911, What’s Your Emergency? were the two assignments I completed for DS 106.

Hit it is a visual assignment in which you add a caption to a picture in order to make it funny.  Here is my picture:

Marine recruits during basic training

In this picture you can see marine recruits  going through their physically rigorous basic training. To make the image funny I added text which says “I should’ve listened to my momma…”. The text I added tries to match the agony and pain that the recruits display in the picture, which I thought was funny. By completing the assignment, I learned how to add captions using GIMP.

The second assignment from DS 106 was an audio recording assignment called 911, Whats Your Emergency?  The goal of this assignment is to create a 911 call while having fun with it. My sister and I recorded a call in which a man calls 911 because he needs a cab but has no money to pay for it. The recording turned out to be very funny. The assignment allowed me to learn how to record audio using my phone and how to attach it to an image using Window Live Movie maker. Here is the recording:


I’m glad I completed the assignment from DS 106 because it pushed me to learn new media software tools that I’ll be able to use in the future as a teacher.


Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee


Muhammad Ali

The greatest athlete of the 20th century letting you know WHAT THE DEAL IS…………….. On this portion of the task I chose to do ‘Caption That’ for the visual assignment because I found this to be a classic photo of an iconic figure and I thought adding this caption was a good example of his persona in and out of the ring.

When it comes to the web and memes or gifs I never really thought about making my own or how to even do it but through this process I learned some easy tools to create simple memes, its pretty cool.  I don’t think I will be doing much of it but I can see the fun in them and used the right way you can share a message, spark thought or just have fun with it.


Video assignment

30 second documentary

For this task I decided to do the ’30 second documentary’ assignment from the video portion of ds106 assignments.

I chose to record myself trying to do a 30 second gasser which is a conditioning drill used in football practices where you are demanded to run 200 yards(50 yard intervals) in 30 – 40  seconds.  I have a love/hate relationship with this workout, its an intense run that’s great for cardio but a grueling conditioning drill as your really supposed to do 8 rounds of them with about a 60 second break between each round.  Not the best video, had some soccer player get in the shot (didn’t want have to do a re shoot) and there is no audio which the assignment says is ok. Overall its a great exercise if you want to upstart you cardio conditioning in a powerful way.

I liked doing this is assignment because it motivated me to record a portion of one of my workouts.  As a PE major and someone who would like to train people of all ages and of all walks of life this assignment opened my eyes to the benefits of recording my exercises and sharing them on the web.  Maybe I can upload more videos in the future that will help people in their pursuits to reach a better path of health and fitness.



Digital Fusion Cusine

For Mission: DS106 I decided to do a design and video assignment. For the design assignment I chose to create an animated magazine cover. I thought these would be pretty cool if they actually existed on newsstands, so it sounded fun.

I used the December 2012 cover of Black Enterprise (the self-proclaimed “#1 Resource for Black Entrepreneurs, Professionals and Small Businesses”). The original features actor-comedian, Kevin Hart, who has an alter-ego named Chocolate Droppa. Chocolate Droppa is pretty much the worst rapper, ever, who probably talks more than he raps.

I put a little animation from the Flight of the Conchords’ song “Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros” (great song, btw).

Now a worldwide pop-culture, hip-hop was originally a black american enterprise, and even though these three people are just having fun with it, I thought it fit.

Kevin Hart (top) with the Flight of the Conchords take the rap world by storm.

For the video assignment I tried to visualize a song, “Let the Sunshine In (Reprise)”, by the 5th Dimension. I’ve always thought it was a powerful, soul-filled song. It’s one of those songs that I wished were longer (actually there is a longer version, that’s also pretty good; Billboard’s has it pegged at the #57th greatest song of all-time). One of the songs I wish I were around for when it was being tested out on the road, maybe in some oversized shack of a music house, where the only drink on the menu was moonshine. Needless to say I think it invokes a lot of emotion, almost in a celebratory way. But I can also see it as a terribly miserable song, that can also sound like a pleading to darker world.

I juxtaposed the song with some USG film and photos of atomic testing and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I did this to play on the miserable plea theme combined with one of the faces nuclear fusion.

Nuclear fusion is the power source of the Sun and hence life as we know it, so I think it’s a wonderful thing. Being a huge proponent of nuclear energy (I want nuclear reactors providing the majority of the baseline power in this country and wherever possible, especially in poorer parts of the world) I wanted to explore why most citizens of the world are bitterly opposed to the idea of nuclear energy. I think that people associate it with the horrors of nuclear weapons, so this song visualization is a mix of those fears contrasted with the celebration of the longest running fusion reactor in our neighborhood, the driver of life, our Sun.